With the regular season behind them, the Spartans turned their attention to the sectional tournament and an opening game versus GCL stalwart, Mercy. After some jitters and slow start, the Spartans used an 18 point 2nd quarter to take control of the game and a 17 point 3rd quarter to make it academic in route to a comfortable 46-30 victory.
Turpin looked rusty after a week off and perhaps some nerves were responsible for the slow start with a Kaitlyn Workman lay-up the only offense in the 1st quarter. Meanwhile, the senior heavy line up of the Mercy Bobcats were able to get some high percentage shots off and they had the Spartans reeling with a 9-2 lead after the first quarter horn sounded.
In the 2nd, a different Turpin team emerged from the huddle. A Workman steal in front of the Spartan bench resulted in a lay-up. Then, the senior point guard hit a 3 pointer making it 9-7 in favor of Mercy. The Spartans were energized as they used a blanketing defense to throw the Bobcats off their game. Savanah Hazenfield had a sublime pass to Charlotte Kerregan with resulted in a lay-up. 9-9, Game On! After a Mercy time-out, the Spartans piled it on. 3 pointers from Ellie Holt and Elise Schulok extended the Turpin lead and two more baskets by Kerregan completed the best quarter of the year. The Spartans led 20-15 at intermission.
Half-time did not dilute the Turpin energy as the Spartans continued their positive play at the beginning of the 2nd half. Lindsey Viel received a lovely interior pass from Workman and converted the basket. Holt added a running lay-up and Schulok converted a short baseline jumper. But it was the guard play of Hazenfield that exemplified the quarter. The junior guard drove the right lane twice for baskets each time and a full court steal which led to drawing a foul on a lay-up attempt got the Spartans in command. Workman would convert 2 more lay-ups and Spartans enjoyed a 17 point quarter while only yielding 3 points from Mercy. The Spartans led 37-18 going into the 4th.
With a sizeable lead, the Spartans were deliberate on offense using as much time as possible on each possession. With the aim to go inside, Viel drew multiple fouls on drives to the basket and converted 3 free throws. Kerregan was unstoppable in the paint as the senior center scored two more baskets. Olivia Hamilton converted both her free throws as the Spartans rode out the remainder of the game. Although only seven played, all seven scored.
Scoring: Workman 12; Viel 7; Holt 5; Hazenfield 5; Kerregan 10; Schulok 5; O. Hamilton 2
Early on, the game wasn’t going as planned, but the 2nd changed the outcome. The first half reminded me of a quote from the comedian/philosopher, Steven Wright: “The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
Up Next- Sectional Tourney: Turpin faces Fairfield, February 23rd at 7:30pm at Lakota East.